The Many Emotions of Cole’s First Roller Coaster

We’re back, we’ve unpacked, and we’re working through the feelings of PDD {Post Disney Depression}. The past couple of days, I’ve been sifting through all of our pictures and videos and so far, this is one of my absolute favorite moments we captured: Cole’s first ever ride on Goofy’s roller coaster.

Poor Cole. Such a shorty.

Jack first rode the Barnstormer just after his second birthday, but he was always at the top of the growth charts. Cole, on the other hand, has always been on the small side, so this March he just missed the mark to ride the toddler thrill-ride of Storybook Circus. I think we might have all cried a little.

A few weeks before we left for our most recent trip, I measured him again and was excited to find that Cole had finally reached the ridable height required for the Barnstormer. We were all elated, so a common verse for our chain-tearing silly song was,

Cole’s gonna ride Goofy’s roller coaster,

Roller coaster,

Roller coaster.

Cole’s gonna ride Goofy’s roller coaster,

When all our chains are gone!

When the moment finally arrived, we were all anxious to know how Cole would take this first “thrill ride”. Luckily, Tim caught the whole thing on video.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I do. I find it hilariously wonderful. 

Also, just so you know, he rode it two more times and loved every moment. He’s excited to ride other “big boy” rides like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Test Track, and Splash Mountain in the future. Time to eat some green beans and spinach! Grow, Coco, grow!

With love, Malorie

10 Cups of Coffee Countdown: 9 Days!

photo-10

Goooooood morning, Disney goers! We Elrods have nine days until our next Disney vacation!

As you know, we also make a countdown chain for each trip. Every time we tear off a link, we do a silly little song and dance. We then take turns saying what we are most excited about that day and sing separate verses in the same tune about that day’s Disney happy thought. For example:

[tears off link]

All [skipping]: We’re gonna go to Disney World,

Disney World,

Disney World!

We’re gonna go to Disney World,

When all our chains are gone…

Me: Cole, what are you excited about today?

Cole: Pirates!

All: We’re gonna ride on Pirates,

Pirates,

Pirates!

We’re gonna ride on Pirates,

When all our chains are gone…

Told you it was silly.

Today, my Disney happy thoughts are waking up to Mickey waffles and bacon at the Contempo Cafe, and snagging a front car of the People Mover and kicking my feet up for a relaxing ride with Lorelai on my lap.

What are you most excited about for your next Disney trip? I’d be glad to sing a verse for you.

With love, Malorie

10 Cups of Coffee is Back

It has already been quite the morning around here.

Cole woke up too stinkin’ early, crawled into bed next to me, and kept whispering a morning breath “Mama…Mama…” into my face. Tim pulled me out of bed a half an hour earlier than I deem reasonable to film his ALS Ice Bucket Challenge video before he left for work. And Lorelai pooped her bed. Again.

I think we need a bigger-sized diaper for nighttime.

Luckily, I caught that before Tim headed out the door, so he changed the crib sheet while I cleaned the Poopie Princess. But, needless to say, I neeeeeeeeeded a cup of coffee this morning. So much so, that I couldn’t even take the time to brew a pot. I just stumbled to the water cooler, filled a glass, and dumped in a Starbucks iced Via. As I sipped my sweetened, iced goodness, a little caffeinated happy thought came to mind…

We only have ten more days until our next Disney vacation!

So with that, I’m going to bring back my 10 Cups of Coffee Countdown. Here’s my number ten!

photo-9Ten days until I can wake up at Bay Lake Tower, have my husband by my side non-stop for eight whole days, and ride the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train! Eeee!

How long until your next Disney vacation?

With love, Malorie

Here’s What We Think: Dates in Disney, A California Grill Review

I think I’ve said this before, but Tim and I are huge supporters of dating your spouse. Where is one of our favorite places to go on a date?

You guessed it. Disney World.

Luckily, we usually have Grandma and Grandaddy with us on our trips, so we can barter with them for a date night on one night of our trip. In the past, we’ve had dates at Narcoossee’s, Ohana {followed by couple of hours alone in Magic Kingdom!}, and Chefs de France in Epcot. DisneyDateCollageThis past September of 2013 was definitely my favorite date night we’ve had, by far. It was at the newly refurbished and grand re-opening of the California Grill at the tip-top of the Contemporary Resort!

After a lengthy refurbishment, the California Grill was set to re-open the week of our vacation and after trying to book a table the day they started taking reservations, Tim came home frustrated because every single reservation for that week had been booked up within just a few hours. However, after a strange turn of events while on our trip {I swear, this Disney magic stuff is the real deal}, a fellow Disney guru that we follow on Twitter tweeted that he was canceling his reservation for the Cali Grill that night and that someone had better move fast if they wanted it. We were back at our resort when Tim saw the tweet, so he jetted to the front desk to try to snag the reservation. Lo and behold, an hour later Tim and I were putting on our fanciest outfits and getting ready for our 5:30 reservation at the California Grill!

IMG_8870 IMG_8873

I’m obsessed with these pictures that Tim took while we were waiting on our boat to the Contemporary. I was 26ish weeks pregnant with Lorelai.

IMG_8874 IMG_8876 IMG_8878We had an amazing captain as we sailed the calm waters of Bay Lake. He was knowledgeable and talkative and he said that he had given up a pretty prestigious job to drive boats in Disney World and that he has never regretted it a minute; that being out on the Disney World waters was the best job you could ask for. I think I believe him. IMG_8879 IMG_8882We arrived early, but went ahead and went up to the restaurant because we wanted to have a look around before being seated.

IMG_8886 IMG_8884 IMG_8885 IMG_8888We loved the new decor of the restaurant, and I geeked out for a bit over the Mary Blair art inspired design and framed photos of her sketching.

IMG_8907 IMG_8908 IMG_8909IMG_8922On either side of the restaurant, you can walk out on to a breeze way that overlooks Magic Kingdom, Bay Lake and the parks and resorts beyond it, and the Seven Seas Lagoon and it’s inhabiting resorts. The views are magnificent, really.IMG_8899 IMG_8898 IMG_8894California Grill, in addition to being a nice sit-down, has a lounge and bar area and sushi bar. Unfortunately, I am not a lover of sushi, so this does not appeal to me. However, I have heard it is amazing from those who do love sushi. IMG_8889IMG_8891 IMG_8890IMG_8892We were seated in the back room that was once the wine cellar. It was small and quiet so it was right up my alley. Tim on the other hand is the kind of guy that likes to be in the middle of the action, so he would have preferred we were sat in the main dining room. I’m introverted and don’t like strangers, so this suited me nicely. Plus, we had a window seat with a great view of our beloved Wilderness Lodge. IMG_8903 IMG_8916 IMG_8913 IMG_8911 IMG_5988Our waitress was fantastic and informative. She recommended the oven-dried tomato flatbread for an appetizer, so we took her up on that while she brought out some bread in the meantime.

Y’all, that bread. Those wheat rolls with the unsalted butter sprinkled with coarse sea salt and a sprig of rosemary?…I could have just eaten ten baskets of that and been fine. Seriously. Although I was pregnant, so maybe that had to do with it too. Either way, the bread was my jam that night. Here’s proof:  The flatbread was pretty amazing, itself. A great recommendation.IMG_8919For his entrée, Tim ordered oak-fired fillet of beef. It was so delicious. The sauce was fantastic and it was cooked perfectly; I was definitely wishing I had ordered it, as well. IMG_8925IMG_8923I ordered a dish that doesn’t seem to be on the menu anymore. It was a chicken breast in some sort of cherry barbecue sauce, I believe, with two chicken sausage links, corn succotash and green beans, with a mac ‘n cheese au gratin…or something like that. I’m a sophisticated foodie, can’t you tell? It was a good dish, but although it doesn’t look this way in the picture, I felt there was far too much of that sauce on my plate and it was really over powering. And as good as the mac ‘n cheese looks, it was a bit dry. IMG_8931Of course, no good date night goes without dessert, so we ordered the sundae sampler. I knew I wanted it from the moment we sat down. We had seen it on the menu prior to arriving and I was so in love with it’s whimsically sweet presentation that I couldn’t pass it up. I basically giggled my way through dessert. I mean, c’mon! Just look at it! The coke float was…well, a coke float, so the caramel corn and strawberry and basil were the flavor-stars of the dish. We finished it very satisfied and with a smile on our face. IMG_5994IMG_8929Besides my chicken dish {which has been taken off of the menu for obvious reasons, I suppose}, we have nothing but good things to say about the California Grill. We have recommended it to many people in the past year and talk often of booking it again on an upcoming trip.

So here’s what we think: Although amazing restaurants with breath-taking views and mouth-watering eats make any date night a magical and memorable experience, spending time with the love of your life is always the best part of dating in Disney. IMG_8944 IMG_6047Here’s to us, Timothy Elrod, and many more magnificent nights at the Happiest Place on Earth.

With love, Malorie

 

VIDEO: WDW Trip 03.14

Now that it is almost May, I’ve finally gotten around to putting together some of the video we took while on our trip to WDW this March! It was Lorelai’s first trip {at a whopping three-months-old, just like her big brother, Jack}, our second stay at Bay Lake Tower, and our second trip as DVC Members. It was a lot of fun, but also contained a lot of shuffle, being our first trip with three kids, and without the grandparents for that matter! Luckily, a Magic Kingdom morning cut short and the ride home were our only two rough spots in the trip. We’re looking forward to our trip this September, with Lorelai being more alert and aware of what’s going on.

Without further ado, our March 2014 video. I don’t love it as much as the last montage, but it still contains lots of great Elrods Go Disney memories!

Just Like Working Out

You know how when you haven’t done something in a long time, it’s really hard to start again? That first time back is the hardest.

Like when you have been on vacation and eating awful, terrible, delicious foods, and when you get back home, motivating yourself to cook a healthy dinner is hard.

Or when you haven’t exercised in a while {or if you’re me, EVER}, and the hardest set of crunches, jumping jacks, or mile to run, is the first.

Well, this post…the hardest to write.

So much time. So little to say.

Scratch that. Reverse it.

I’m just going to ease into it. A little snip-it here, a little snip-it there; because, honestly, I just don’t have the margin. Three kids isn’t necessarily hard, but three is definitely busy. {When’s the last time I showered again?} So, here’s my first mile…because, after all, this is just like working out. Right?

IMG_8489With love, Malorie

P.S. This picture needs more cranes, don’t you think? I just can’t stand how few of them are in it. Four is never enough for anyone. {insert snarky look here} The potential Wishes replacement and roomier hub better be worth it.

Bouquets of Balloons

 

Some of my favorite pictures of Main Street USA are those that include the balloon vendors. This year, I took a few of my own shots to take home and play with. I’m not a photographer, nor expert editor, but it was still fun crafting my own pictures of the bouncy balloon bouquets that glide up and down the streets of Magic Kingdom.

IMG_8955 IMG_8951 IMG_8945

It was very windy the night I captured these photos. Tim waited patiently while I stooped under the billowing bunches trying to get pictures. The young, male cast member clutching them said he was glad I was taking pleasure from his pain. He looked like he could fly away with them at any moment. IMG_8947 IMG_8954The past two trips we have bought one of these expensive and temporary souvenirs on the last day of our stay. Even given the hefty price tag {$10-$12/pop}, they are actually very durable and last quite a while. Ours is still bobbing above our mantle right this minute. IMG_6208Well, it’s a little more deflated than the night we bought it…but then again, we are too. {Womp, womp!}

Counting down the days until our March trip! Next time, I think I want yellow.

With love, Malorie

Trip Report: Our Mornings in Magic Kingdom

On this trip, we spent many mornings at Magic Kingdom. At the ages and stages of our kids, this is our favorite park to be in, hands down. With meet ‘n greets of their favorite characters and gads of attractions they can enjoy, it is no mystery that when our kids think Disney World, they think Magic Kingdom.IMG_6061 IMG_6054 IMG_8726

This year we found a great groove for our rope drops {rope drop meaning arriving at park opening}, and were able to get tons accomplished before nap time. I made a map to show you our route. The yellow and blue routes were done on separate days. Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 2.43.23 PM

Yellow Route: Fantasyland/Attraction Knock-Out

1. Peter Pan

2. Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid

3. Dumbo

4. The Barnstormer

5. Mad Tea Party

6. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

7. Prince Charming Regal Carrousel

8. Mickey’s Philharmagic

9. It’s a Small World

10. Haunted Mansion

11. Splash Mountain

12. Pirates of the Caribbean

13. Lunch at Casey’s Corner

NAP TIME!

Get there at park open, catch the opening performance, then hit the trail. We were able to knock out all of Fantasyland in just over an hour, but even during busy times, I can guarantee that if you get there on time and don’t lolly-gag in between, you can knock out these rides in swift order. We hit up potty breaks with our toddlers near Gaston’s Tavern after Peter Pan, and in the Tangled restrooms after It’s a Small World.IMG_8749 IMG_8760 IMG_5797 IMG_5864 IMG_5932 IMG_5867

Teal Route: Meet ‘n Greets

1a. Mickey Mouse at Town Square Theater

1b. Princesses at Princess Fairytale Hall

2. Enchanted Tales with Belle

3. Minnie, Daisy, Goofy, and Donald at Pete’s Silly Sideshow

The teal route knocked out our meet ‘n greets. Number 1 has an a. and a b. because we typically don’t see the princesses {although that will change with the arrival of our sweet Lorelai!}, so I would suggest doing either/or. However, doing both is always an option too! After meeting the characters we would suggest seeing Dream Along with Mickey. Otherwise, move along to some other attractions that you haven’t crossed off your list yet in Adventureland and Tomorrowland. IMG_8769 IMG_8776 IMG_8819 IMG_8675 IMG_6204 IMG_8828 IMG_5808 IMG_5804By the end of our trip we had gotten to do everything we wanted several times. Jack’s favorite ride was Haunted Mansion and Cole’s was…well just about everything. We were bummed that he was still too short to ride The Barnstormer, so our fingers are crossed for our trip in March.

Just this morning, Jack said to us {again!} at the breakfast table, “I wish we was in Disney World. I love Disney World. I thought we lived there.”

Ha! Someday he will realize that in the grand scheme of things, the fact that we have been blessed with the opportunity to go so often and make such wonderful family memories there is very rare, indeed. I am so incredibly thankful for that. With that in mind, I say to Jack, “We do live there, Buddy. We do.”

With love, Malorie

Photo Report: Villas at the Wilderness Lodge

I thought I’d start out our string of trip reports by sharing where we stayed on our most recent trip to WDW. As fresh-faced DVC members, we spent our first trip at our home resort, The Villas at Disney Wilderness Lodge.  IMG_8502 IMG_8503 IMG_8504 IMG_8508IMG_9306 IMG_8509 IMG_9300 IMG_6143 IMG_8514 IMG_8516 IMG_8518 IMG_8519 IMG_8520 IMG_8522 IMG_8523 IMG_8526 IMG_8530 IMG_5789Since there are so many things we loved about our stay, I will keep it simple and less wordy by just listing out a few:

~ How cozy the Lodge, especially the lobby of the Villas, feels. It really feels like a home away from home the moment you arrive. With it’s scaled back Disney character theming {as opposed to the All-Star Resorts}, it definitely feels like a relaxing retreat, especially after a busy and loud morning in the parks. It makes for great naps times!

~ Our room! We had the perfect room, and plan to request it in the future if it’s available. It was near the elevators and had the perfect view of Bay Lake and the DVC pool. At 9:30 each night, we could sit out on our balcony and watch the Electrical Water Pageant peeking through the trees, gliding by on it’s way to the Camp Grounds and Contemporary. We’d probably say our least favorite thing about the room was the decor. We’re looking forward to updates in that regard.

~ The size of our Villa. It was our first time staying in a studio, so the extra space was needed and felt.

~ The kitchenette. The refrigerator was even more spacious than we anticipated and we loved having a separate sink to be able to wash dishes and mugs in, in addition to the bathroom sink. In regular rooms, it always felt slightly gross washing baby bottles in the same sink I just brushed my teeth in. Gag.

~ The pools. They are so great, and we love having the option of resort pool towels and returns. It’s nice not having to deal with finding places to hang wet towels in the room.

~ Having the option of boat transportation. The larger boats that go directly between the Wilderness Lodge and Magic Kingdom have wide enough doors and aisles that we can roll our fat double stroller right on, kids buckled in. This is a life saver with sleeping kids. It is a pain and a half having to fold that thing up and keep tabs on two roaming toddlers on small boats or buses. We loving having that easier, stress-free option.

~ All of the cozy little nooks the VWL offers to those seeking just a few minutes of serenity. During one of the boys’ nap times, I walked around the lobby of the Villas and captured some silent and comfy spots to share. It makes me long for a cup of coffee or hot tea and a good book right now!IMG_9310 IMG_9328 IMG_9340 IMG_9335 IMG_9337 IMG_9338 IMG_9343

~ The restaurants. The Wildnress Lodge offers three  spots to get your fill; for counter service, the Roaring Fork and Trout Pass Pool Bar, and for table service, the Whispering Canyon Cafe and the signature dining spot, Artist Point, which includes the Territory LoungeIMG_8492IMG_8841

~ We also love the grounds. Just gorgeous. IMG_9407

{The top corner balcony was ours.}

IMG_9371 IMG_9372 IMG_9374 IMG_9376 IMG_9385 IMG_9393 IMG_9396 IMG_9398 IMG_9399IMG_8873

{Boat transportation: the large boats go directly to the entrance of Magic Kingdom, while smaller boats make stops at the Magic Kingdom, Fort Wilderness Camp Grounds, and the Contemporary Resort. Pictured is one of the larger boats.}

Ahhh, the Wilderness Lodge. How we love you. Have you ever stayed at the Wilderness Lodge or the Villas at the Wilderness Lodge? If so, what were your thoughts on your stay there?

With love, Malorie